At 5/16/11 09:49 AM, Chronamut wrote:
I often wonder if immortality would be such a great thing.. I guess only if others could be immortal with you - I look at the pets that age faster than we do and die and feel sad.. and think itd be the same way with people- everything would be a bit bleak and time would eventually corrode your soul.
Two kinds of people would fare extraordinarily well. Both being extraverts, but at either end of the scale. Ie those with socio-centric pathologies such as narcissistic personality disorder, and psychopathy. At the other end, you'd have your altruistic types, people with a sound mind, a view towards helping others (whatever the cost), and a good sense of rationality, coupled with a fair intellectual ability.
Narcissists will be fine, as their relationships with others are completely self-serving. Once their current source of narcissistic supply has withered away, they will simply seek out another one. As long as they are being paid attention to, it doesn't matter who is paying that attention to them. Even if the attention is overwhelmingly negative, they will lap it up. This is why you should never bother with a narcissist. The chance of rehabilitation is probably equal to the chance of rehabilitating a sociopath. Not that it matters to the narcissist of course ;D.
On the other end of the scale, people with a positive socio-centric attitude would also be fine. They would always have the ability to form deep and mutually beneficial relationships with others. These people enjoy the challenge of befriending someone that interests them. If they posess a sound, rational mind, death won't matter because it means that they would always have a rich social tapestry that is ever-evolving and full of endless opportunity. If they have the brains to know when to let go of something, watching their loved ones grow old and die will not be a soul-crushing experience. Take it from me, when you are exposed to the death of a loved one, you learn how to let go.
Ultimately, death will in fact mean less and less as each generation passes, because you will always be gaining wisdom, which will allow you to integrate the fairly trivial matter of death/non-existence. Unless of course you stubbornly hold on to irrational beliefs that have no grounding in reality (ie, believing in deities/belief in having a soul-mate/belief in spiritual or religious destiny/believing that your subjective experience is actually *important*/believing in ).
Of course, non-existence would be directly responsible for other issues. Issues which stem once again from a lack of rationality. For example, many people derive their self-worth from their popularity or social status. This is bad if you are eternal, because it means that you have to be constantly re-establishing your popularity. THIS is bad, because for the average person, it would mean a lot of lying. A lot of lying, for such an abstract and meaningless concept. Also, people can, and will, turn on you. The more people you know, the more people there are to someday hate your guts. If you view society as a ladder to be climbed and conquered, once and for all - you will fall off. If you have to keep doing this shit for the rest of your life, it WILL drain you at some point. A reliance upon popularity, without the benefit of a narcissistic or psychopathic disorder, is a pretty fast track to a life of depression and self-resentment.
As an introvert, I would probably find it hard over the first couple of hundred years. I'm fiercely skeptical, and this + introversion, makes it fairly difficult for me to make close, long and meaningful relationships with other people. I don't care what anyone says...most people will need the company of others to stop them from going insane. Don't confuse this with deriving your worth from others, however. It plays a part, but mostly, you need to talk to people. You need to touch them, and hear them. I would simply find it hard to make new friends once all my current ones had died off...my introverted and skeptical nature simply prevents me from doing so. However, eventually, you'd just have to buck the fuck up and get out there.
Most people exist somewhere between the two aforementioned extremes. Immortality would be tough for most, and as you go down the ranks as far as overall intellectual ability is concerned, I think that you would start to see a causal increase in the development of pathologies/neuroses/psychoses, depending on the individuals mental tapestry. Stuff like OCD, de-personalization/de-realization, catatonic depression, psychosis/schizophrenia etc. The longer that these persisted without some kind of intervention or spiritual realization, the worse it would get.
Having said that, I'm not ragging on dumbasses here. I think that a rational mind in an immortal body would be much more important than a genius level IQ. And to be honest, I think it would be interesting to see how a bunch of *normal* people would develop if they were imbued with immortality. I think in the end(?), every immortal agent would have chosen a path that either drives them to become purely narcissistic or altruistic.
Personally, I think that immortality would be great, in theory. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and I could read all the books in the world if I had all the time in the world ;). Conveniently forgetting that we don't have the resources to support such an abomination, I would love to live forever. We are so far removed from death, that we have over-romanticized one of the most normal things ever.
Your parents will be dead one day. You will have friends that die before you do. Shit, they dont even have to die...sometimes we fall out with people and never see them again. But these gaps in your external social network should be getting filled with new people. You might think that your little bubble is static, but really, it's as dynamic as you're willing to let it be. And if you do understand that your friends, family and acquaintances are constantly shifting around now (and you are cool with this), then there's no reason why it should be any better or worse for you in 1000 years time.
TL:DR if you don't want to be immortal, then it's probably not for you.